Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Shellac is it halal or haram?

Q: I notice that cadbury anytime nutties coated with chocolate have shellac in their list of ingredients.

Is shellac halaal or haraam?


Shellac is a secretion of the lac insect which is related to the scale insects of the coccodea family. It is native to India and Mexico.

Whilst Shellac is generally defined as a secretion of the lac insect, our investigations have revealed that Shellac does not only comprise of the secretion but also insect residue which cannot be avoided and thus forms part of the ingredient.

SANHA has researched, and consulted with various Muftīs on the issue of Shellac for almost two years and exhausted every possible angle on this issue. The Muftīs are unanimous that Shellac is not permitted for consumption.



  1. What does SANHA do after the investigations have found that shellach is haraam - do they notify the community? what happens to the products on shelf/ in production & packaging that has the SANHA logo on it? Companies print there packaging in advance, who covers the cost for this after the investigation?

  2. this is the link to their contact us information.. Sanha Contact us

  3. Shellac is NOT haram, since the bug parts are removed from the shellac during production:

    "Shellac is scraped from the bark of the trees where the female lac bug, Laccifer (Tachardia) lacca Kerr, Order Hemiptera, Family Coccidae[1] secretes it to form a tunnel-like tube as it traverses the branches of tree. Though these tunnels are sometimes referred to as "cocoons", they are not literally cocoons in the entomological sense.[2] . This insect is in the same family as the insect from which cochineal is obtained. The insects suck the sap of the tree and excrete "stick-lac" almost constantly. The least coloured shellac is produced when the insects are parasitic upon the kursum tree, (Schleichera trijuga). The raw shellac, which contains bark shavings and lac bug parts, is placed in canvas tubes (much like long socks) and heated over a fire. This causes the shellac to liquefy, and it seeps out of the canvas leaving the bark and bug parts behind. The thick sticky shellac is then dried into a flat sheet and broken up into flakes when dried, or dried into "buttons" (pucks/cakes), and then bagged and sold. The end-user then mixes it with denatured alcohol on-site a few days prior to use in order to dissolve the flakes and make liquid shellac."

    As you can see, the shellac is separated from the bug parts. It is therefore similar to honey, according to other scholars. Please conduct some more research and revise your fatawa...Shukran.

  4. As Salam wa alaikum ..

    The fatwa is from SANHA..

    It would have been much better if you had posted your source/reference for your information.. any statment with the source / reference carries more weight..

    anyways thanks for your info..

    I am no scholar but just reading what information you provided it's still not a clear cut case for permissibility of this ingredient since what you state says

    "This causes the shellac to liquefy, and it seeps out of the canvas leaving the bark and bug parts behind."

    This in laymen terms can be called the "juice of the insect" mixed with the "excretions" ..

    First question... Since when did the excretions of insects become halal?? Whether or not they are similar to honey is irrelevant..

    Secondly you mention "other scholars" . Please mention their names.. and where their fatawas are posted / published...

    JazkAllah Khair

  5. This is from the SANHA website:

    E904 (Shellac)
    E-number: 904
    Name: Shellac
    Alternative Names :N/A

    Function: Glazing agent
    Status: Halaal
    Source: Source: resin of lac insect